Covering terrorism: from denial to justification
By Ghaleb Kandil
Groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda emerged in Lebanon 25 years ago, under various names. 22 months ago, the Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn has launched a warning against the danger of the presence of this organization in Lebanon. He was referring to the cocktail of terrorist groups, which were established in some regions benefiting from local politics coverage by Sheikh Saad Hariri, his party and its allies in the war plan against Syria.
The existence of Al- Qaeda is now indisputable evidence, even for politicians who covered Minister Ghosn with criticism and launched against him a virulent campaign of intimidation, thereby ensuring a coverage for the activities of Takfirists-terrorists groups in their strongholds of North Lebanon, Bekaa valley, other Lebanese regions as well as in the Palestinian camps.
Whatever names they bear -Al-Nosra front, Abdallah Azzam Brigades, Jund al-Sham, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and other movements evolving under the banner of Free Syrian Army-, these groups have carried their terrorism in Lebanon. In Syria, these movements are facing serious difficulties after the rejection of the population, the advance of the Syrian Arab Army and their internal wars. In Lebanon, these groups have targeted the Lebanese Army more than once and are a danger to all Lebanese without exception. A return on the atrocities they have committed in Syria -beheadings, cannibalism, executions, rapes, abduction of civilians and Muslims and Christians men of religion, killing great scholars like Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti- is enough to get an idea of their criminal nature and their thinking, based on the extermination of all those who do not like them.
14-Mars has offered protection to terrorist hideouts in the context of its role in the implementation of the Saudi-American plan, Today, this coalition is trying to shirk its responsibility in the occurrence and development of Al-Qaeda plague, mulling statements on the role of Hezbollah in Syria. However, the presence of terrorism in Lebanon, thanks to the benevolence of the Future, is prior to the participation of Hezbollah in Syria’s war. Hezbollah is fighting against extremist groups that threaten the Lebanese social tissue. The arguments raised by the 14-Mars represent additional coverage to Al-Qaeda, making it more difficult and expensive to fight this terrorist organization.
The speech of "haririsme" in Lebanon is a justification for terrorist acts, even if it is presented as a condemnation of the attacks. Because between the words of denunciation we find an understanding of the motivations of assassins, in order to mobilize part of the Lebanese along sectarian lines and turn them into fertile ground for extremist ideas. The fight against terrorism requires a firm, strict and unambiguous stance to bar the way to the work of recruitment and indoctrination of youth. The fact that one of the suicide bombers against the Iranian Embassy in Beirut is a Lebanese from the city of Saida, and close to the extremist Sheikh Ahmad al- Asir, who was sponsored and politically covered by Hariri, shows the damages that double standard speech of the Future Movement can cause.
Political boycott of the Syrian state by senior Lebanese officials is no less severe than the 14-Mars and the Future Movement speech. This destructive attitude also provides coverage and protection for terrorism. These leaders have fled since the beginning of the crisis in Syria behind the so called "distancing policy", while ignoring the operating rooms installed by the 14-Mars in Lebanon to coordinate the actions of extremists in Syria, not to mention the involvement of the media of this political camp in the war against the Syrian state. These leaders have ignored the smuggling of weapons to Syria, the seizure of ships packed with huge arsenals, the import of terrorists from around the world to send them, through Lebanon, to destroy Syria and kill its people.
The attitude of some senior Lebanese officials is now a danger to Lebanon, while Hezbollah is trying to protect the country from the threat of Al-Qaeda terrorism by fighting extremists directly on the Syrian ground. The imminence of the danger, however, would need these official leaders to call for a general mobilization to provide coverage to the Lebanese Army to allow it to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries established by the "harirism".
The fight against terrorism has become a major concern in many European countries, working to restore cooperation with the Syrian state. This is the case of Germany, Italy, Spain and France, countries located several thousands of kilometers away, while Lebanon, Syria’s neighbor, exposed to the worst dangers, remains committed to the Saudi-American decision to break contact with Damascus.
It is time to end this bad joke, because people’s lives and the fate of Lebanon are at stake.
Michel Sleiman, President of the Lebanese Republic
«The bitter truth is that it is difficult to speak of independence if we fail to organize elections, to form a new government, to sit at the table of dialogue without denying our past commitments, or if we not succeed the next year to organize presidential elections within the constitutional time. Independence would not be complete if we continue to consolidate sectarianism in the minds instead of reinforcing the idea of citizenship and the logic of absolute allegiance to the country, and it cannot be complete if we fail to keep us away from the negative impact of regional crises because we make the best interests of Lebanon dependent on regional or subject to the dictates of foreign interests and will. There is no independence when some Lebanese factions disregard national consensus, risk Lebanon’s stability and get involved in the fighting in a neighboring country’s war. There is also no independence if security forces were not the only groups authorized to carry arms in the country. Terrorism will fail to bring Lebanon back and reopen a black page in the history of the country.»
Saad Hariri, former Lebanese Prime Minister
«The president’s message is the last line of defense of Lebanon’s independence and coexistence among its people. It should be supported in words and actions by all Lebanese who are keen on protecting their country’s independence and coexistence. Suleiman’s speech is the highest form of political rhetoric that could be reached during this extraordinary time in Lebanon’s history. On the occasion of Independence Day, Lebanon is standing at a fateful crossroads.»
Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement
«The degree of brutality indicates what we would expect in the future if they [the jihadists] come to power. We should stop hoping and start confronting these backward groups.»
Sheikh Naïm Kassem, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah
«The Takfirists groups-Israel axis take responsibility for the made bombing. What happened is part of a terrorist option against everyone. Those who think they are safe from the enemy, in Lebanon or in the region, are deluding themselves.»
Francis, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church
«We do not resign ourselves to think of a Middle East without Christians, who for two thousand years, profess the name of Jesus, inserted as citizens in the social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong.»
Maher Hammoud, Imam of al-Qods Mosque in Saida
«I think the recent double suicide bombing are a natural extension of what is going on in Syria. Those parties that have been fomenting sectarian hatred in Syria, and those who are funding it, are prepared to do anything in the service of the United States and Israel. At first, Qatar took on the task of toppling the regime and financing the fighters, and they failed. Now it is Saudi Arabia’s turn, with a green light from the Americans. We know today that Bandar bin Sultan has the upper hand in Saudi politics. And he is the most pro-American and pro-Israeli, even according to members of the royal family. But I imagine the outcome of the Saudi adventure will be very much like Qatar’s failure. It’s apparent from the scale of the explosions that this was planned by much larger organizations than Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which had precise information about the ambassador’s schedule that day and had targeted him as he was departing for an appointment. There is no justification in Islam related to suicide attacks. They act according to their whims, and their sheikh is the Internet. No clergy worth their weight are carefully considering such matters. They are pretenders who take bits and pieces of religious texts and issue fatwas that are suitable to them. We cannot underestimate the influence of Saudi and Wahhabi thought. Whether we like it or not, the Saudis control many of the Islamist movements, and many more seek its acceptance. The Salafi approach to dealing with religious texts is extremely superficial. They believe that the sect to which most Iranians belong is flawed, and therefore reject everything the country does.»
Samir Geagea, Head of the Lebanese Forces
«This criminal act and the previous ones force us to call for distancing Lebanon in practical terms from everything that is going on around us. The Lebanese-Syrian border should be better controlled by the Lebanese Army and U.N. troops if possible.»
• After a shootout on Friday between a Buick passengers, registered G/409107, and occupants of another unidentified car in an area between the towns of Makné and Younine in Bekaa, a patrol of the intelligence services of the Lebanese Army was deployed. The soldiers found the Buick crashed. Inside, an artificer of the army discovered 400 kilograms of explosives connected to two mortars of large caliber. The bomb was operational. A security cordon was established and residents of nearby houses were evacuated before the bomb was defused. After the discovery of this new car bomb, the President of the Municipality of Ersal, Ali Hojeiri, issued an order prohibiting the circulation in the locality of vehicles registered in Syria.
• The Speaker of the House Nabih Berri called the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Information and Telecommunications to a joint session, Thursday, Nov. 28, dedicated to espionage of Lebanon by Israel. An invitation was also sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Telecommunications, the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council, Ambassador of the European Union, ambassadors of European countries, the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Lebanon and commander of UNIFIL.
• Al-Akhbar reported that unknown person tried Tuesday to get an identity extract on behalf of a member of Hezbollah, A.F. in Sidon. But when he presented the document to the mukhtar, the latter, who knows the applicant personally, noticed that the pictures shown do not correspond to the real person. When he asked to meet the applicant, the stranger fled. The intelligence services of the army were informed of the case.
• Saudi authorities announced that six mortar shells fell near a Saudi isolated post close to Iraq and Kuwait border, without damage. The shells landed in an uninhabited area near a center for border guards in the area of the city of Hafr al Batin in the Eastern Province, says the command of border guards quoted by the official agency Press SPA .
As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
Ghasseb Al-Moukhtar (November 21, 2013)
Informed sources questions the logic of the Future Movement, which wants to end Hezbollah military intervention in Syria while it provides for a military, financial and logistical support to Lebanese and non-Lebanese armed elements. It even covers the entry of terrorist-Takfirists groups in Lebanon.
As Safir (November 21, 2013)
Diplomatic information deliver a forecast on the the situation by the end of the year. Thus, the Arab League will cancel its decision in which it had suspended the membership of Syria to the League as a member state. It is Egypt that will back this decision, with the blessing of the United States. In addition, several European countries announce the resumption of diplomatic relations with Syria and the return of their embassies in Damascus.
After the Geneva-2 Conference, Ambassador of the United States could be part of diplomats who will be back to business in Syria.
According to the same information, the United States have indicated to their allies that discussions with Russia and China aimed less to settle the Syrian crisis to form an international alliance can deal with Islamo-takfirist terrorism, that represents now a threat to global security. Washington has also asked its allies to stop all forms of support to Takfirists fighting in Syria, since nationals of these countries are among those Takfirists.
An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
Samir Tueni, Paris (November 21, 2013)
The Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said that Lebanon cross dangerous steps in 2014 and warned against a Syrian intervention in case of armed conflict between Sunnis and Alawites. "The first danger is will occur in January when the trial before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will start. Then there will be presidential elections, followed by presidential elections in Syria, and the election of a new mufti of the Republic, and finally the parliamentary elections. These steps will be the hardest for Lebanon," said Charbel. "These issues are closely related to what is happening in Syria. When the trial begins certain truths will be known and could affect the situation in Syria and complicate the situation in Lebanon", he added. "The decision to elect a new president is not in the hand of Lebanese. It is an international decision which was attributed in the past to the Syrians," he said.
Minister Charbel has also warned against a large-scale armed conflict between Sunnis and Alawites in Lebanon. "Both parties receive their orders from abroad. Alawites are an extension of the Syrian regime. In case of Sunni-Alawite conflict, the Syrian army will enter Lebanon and bomb regions of Akkar which will cause a Sunni exodus,"said Mr. Charbel.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Mohammad Nazzal (November 23, 2013)
In spite of their continued reign of terror, the armed fighters of the North Lebanon city of Tripoli are ready to become part of the formal security forces. The proposal is the brainchild of Lebanese caretaker-Prime Minister Najib Mikati, yet the interior minister is perplexed.
Imagine Ziad Allouki, an armed gang chief in Tripoli, as an official commander of a police precinct. Should the Lebanese prepare themselves for such an event? Anything goes in this country. Anything includes the prospects of appointing wanted criminals accused of terrorizing innocent civilians no less, into positions of maintaining security.
Around two months ago, in a public chat with journalists, Mikati said he "discussed with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel the possibility of the integration of these people [gang members and leaders] into the Internal Security Forces (ISF), just like with the militias after the civil war, especially since there is a new cycle to recruit 2,000 new members soon."
Mikati, whose portrait is displayed publicly in the offices of some of the militias, said he was "ready to help these young men find jobs, if they truly believed in remaining under the ceiling of the state and its authorities."
Charbel does not seem excited about the suggestion, however, he did not reject it "in principle." He used to be in the corps and was a brigadier general, therefore it is difficult for him when "the corps is insulted or undervalued."
Charbel informs Al-Akhbar that Mikati’s proposal is "merely a suggestion, an idea for discussion and debate. But what I am certain of is that the law requires from all recruits to the security forces to have a clean judicial record and no prior criminal convictions. Therefore, I definitely cannot accept the enlistment of wanted criminals or prior convicts. Other than that, there’s no problem."
Charbel confirms the ISF will be accepting 2,000 new recruits. "The security forces are still lacking in numbers according to the original mandate," he explains. "But those who want to join need to clean their judicial record first." Of course, the Lebanese do not need reminding that the state can withdraw arrest warrants as it wishes and even clear judicial records, no matter how sullied.
Al Akhbar (November 21, 2013)
The revolutionary spirit in Qalamoun is felt by the fighters alone. The residents are pro-Assad, which is something the armed men confirm. Mohamad Salloum, AKA Abu Salloum, from the town of Abu Houri (in Rif al-Qusayr), an opposition fighter who was injured in the battle of Qusayr, tells Al-Akhbar that "most of the residents of the region support the Syrian regime, but they cannot do anything due to the area being controlled by the rebels."
This conviction is well established among most of the opposition brigade commanders in Qalamoun who indicate "incidents we saw up close." Some even go further. "Citizens who are loyal to the regime," says Sheikh Abu Abdullah, "are an army of informants carrying out clandestine operations for their leader Bashar [al-Assad]."
The Sheikh explains his remark by saying that sometimes "when the rebels are gathering, rounds fall on our positions based on coordinated that can only be determined by the use of informants."
As for the Christians, who make up one third of Yabrod’s residents, "they brought woe upon themselves," one fighter says. "We fought some of them because they chose to be informants and thugs." Another one continues, "Al-Nusra Front closed down their alcohol bars around a month ago after they had warned them to leave."
Al Akhbar (November 20, 2013)
The rules of the game have changed. “Iraq-style” suicide bombers have been introduced to the mix with the double bombings that targeted the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, November 19.
The first suicide bomber is thought to have opened the way for the second – and for a new phase of confrontation on Lebanese territory. The radical jihadis thus carried out their previous threats of converting Lebanon from an arena of “solidarity” to an arena of direct “jihad,” blaming the hostilities on Hezbollah because of its involvement in the fighting in Syria.
The sound of the blasts had barely subsided when Sirajuddin Zureiqat, leader of the Lebanese branch of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdallah Azzam Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, declaring the suicide bombers “two heroes of the Sunnis in Lebanon,” and dubbing the attack “the Iranian Embassy raid in Beirut.”
With this, a hitherto-unknown branch of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades entered the limelight. In addition to the already known Ziad Jarrah Brigades, Zureiqat unveiled the Hussein bin Ali Brigades, warning, “Operations in Lebanon will continue, God willing, until two things are achieved: withdrawing the members of Iran’s Party [i.e. Hezbollah] from Syria, and releasing our prisoners from the prisons of oppression in Lebanon.”
The two explosions that rocked Beirut yesterday were unexpected in that their timing was surprising, and they caught everyone off-guard. Although there was a general anticipation that a car bomb would hit on the Shia festival of Ashura, the assailants decided otherwise.
But Tuesday’s bombing follows the two car-bomb attacks in Bir al-Abed and Roueiss, both in the same general area of Beirut’s southern suburbs. So are the Abdullah Azzam Brigades really behind the Iranian embassy attack on its own? Security sources revealed to Al-Akhbar that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recently made a decision to carry out suicide attacks against “Shia targets” in Lebanon, pointing out that its list of targets also includes pro-Hezbollah figures.
Reports corroborated by multiple security sources indicate that ISIS seriously intends to move the battle with Hezbollah inside Lebanon. This premise is supported by the confessions of a Hassan M., who was detained by the Internal Security Forces Information Branch in the Bekaa.
Hassan confessed that he sold a car to members of ISIS. After a car rigged to explode was found in the Maamoura district of the southern suburb, M. complained to ISIS leader Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi that the car was still registered in his name.
Iraqi told him that they had not rigged his car, but used it to transport suicide bombers. Yet Hezbollah apprehended the men on board before claiming in the media that it was a car bomb in order to keep the men in its custody.
According to security reports, the group is also involved in the Roueiss bombing, with the perpetrators crossing into Lebanon through Ersal with assistance from one of the town’s residents. According to security sources, “What applies to investigations over the car bombs in Roueiss and Mreijeh may also applies to the Iranian embassy bombings.”
In other words, ISIS, led by Abu Bakr al-Iraqi, has declared war in Lebanon. This could also mean that ISIS is collaborating with the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, especially since ISIS has better capabilities, while the brigades could have been assigned to claim responsibility through Zureiqat.
According to security reports, the latter has been in Syria for more than a year, and travels to Lebanon from time to time. Furthermore, there is information holding that the IP address Zureiqat used to log on to his Twitter account came from Syria, and that he had only resumed his presence on Twitter in the past few days. By Tuesday evening, Zureiqat and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades’ Twitter accounts disappeared, and it was unclear whether the group or Twitter deleted them.
On the other hand, other security sources told Al-Akhbar that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were planning to engage Hezbollah in this kind of confrontation. The same sources asserted that cells affiliated with Saudi cleric Majed al-Majed and Palestinian cleric Tawfiq Taha would not hesitate for a moment in carrying out such attacks, based on the statements the clerics made threatening Shias and Hezbollah unless they distance themselves from Bashar al-Assad and “withdraw from the war on Sunnis in Syria.”
Lebanese cleric Sirajuddin Zureiqat claimed the twin suicide attack on the Iranian embassy on behalf of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Zureiqat was previously detained for a few hours by Lebanese army intelligence in 2011 on charges of engaging in terrorist activities.
Zureiqat was let go after strong political pressure, including from Grand Mufti of Lebanon Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, who, from Turkey, called the commander of the Lebanese army Jean Qahwaji denouncing Zureiqat’s arrest without regard to Dar al-Fatwa and the “dignity of the turban worn by the sheikh.”
Shortly after he was released, he disappeared for a while before appearing months later in a recording on behalf of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. According to reports, Zureiqat lived in the Tariq al-Jdideh district of Beirut and worked in a religious recording store. According to security sources, Zureikat was involved in recruiting young people for military training in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Al Akhbar (November 20, 2013)
Most people expected Saudi Arabia to go far in its mission to destroy Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, but few expected it would be so quick to move the confrontation to a new level, deploying its soldiers of death on the doorsteps of the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
The lords of the dark kingdom have yet to denounce the double suicide bombings that took the lives of dozens and maimed over a hundred on Tuesday, November 19. Those who occasionally meet with Saudi officials these days are likely to hear endless justifications for such crimes.
We can only assume that by deciding to deploy ugly tactics such as suicide bombings against a power on the scale of Iran, the Saudi royals have chosen to commit political suicide. We need not go back over the whole history, but the following clarifications are necessary:
First: An attack of this sort will do nothing to change the situation on the ground in Syria – Iran and Hezbollah are unlikely to change their commitments to that struggle. Neither will it reverse the series of losses that the Syrian opposition has suffered on virtually all the major fronts, including Damascus, Aleppo, and now Qalamoun.
Second: The Saudi escalation, which seeks to ignite an arc of mayhem and chaos stretching from Iraq to Lebanon, in addition to Yemen and Bahrain, will inevitably prompt a response from the other side that many believe the kingdom cannot possibly withstand.
Third: As for those Lebanese who treat these kinds of attacks lightly and offer justifications, they are nothing more than partners in the crime. This approach can only lead to the strengthening of takfiri elements at the expense of those who call themselves moderates.
Fourth: The measures employed by Hezbollah and the Lebanese security forces have succeeded in preventing a number of attacks so far. But the deployment of suicide operations will force the targeted parties to resort to deterrence through preventative operations, which is the only way to confront lunatics eager to meet their maker.
It is clear from the questionable behavior of the Saudis of late that their bitter defeat in Syria will impose on us more of the kind of meaningless bloodletting that we witnessed in Beirut on Tuesday.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese daily close to March-8 coalition)
(November 21, 2013)
A delegation of 8-Mars parties attended on Monday, in Damascus, a conference of Arab parties and concluded its visit to the Syrian capital by a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.
To the members of the delegation, composed of the Head of Arab relations department of Hezbollah, Hassan Ezzedine and high ranked militants from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Amal Movement, the Syrian president said that "the battle will be decided on the ground in the next six months."
He also held that "a political settlement of the crisis did not make sense in the presence of foreigners and Takfirists-terrorists on Syrian soil " He said that "the Syrian people and the army will continue to defend itself."
"The Syrian leadership supports the organization of Geneva II, but it considers that favorable circumstances must be guaranteed for the meeting, said Mr. Assad. If the goal of this conference is to end the conflict and bloodshed, we must first stop sending fighters and end the financial support they receive, and lift the cover provided the Takfirists groups, including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates", said Assad, according to these sources. The head of the Syrian state virulently attacked Saudi Arabia, "represented by the prince Bandar bin Sultan and Saud al-Faisal", which he accused of "sponsoring terrorism in Syria and encourage the continuation of military operations to destroy the country, because of its support and its alliance with the axis of resistance".
The Washington Post (American daily, November 20, 2013)
When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made another stop in the Middle East this month, he received an expected earful over Washington’s outreach to Iran: Don’t trust Tehran, tighten sanctions even more, anything short of complete nuclear concessions is a grave mistake.
Kerry’s meeting wasn’t in Israel, though. It was in Riyadh, listening to Saudi leaders.
In one of the region’s oddest pairings, Israel and the Gulf Arab states led by Saudi Arabia increasingly are finding common ground — and a common political language — on their mutual dismay over Iran’s history-making overtures to Washington and the prospect of a nuclear deal in Geneva that could curb Tehran’s atomic program but leave the main elements intact, such as uranium enrichment.
“The adage about ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is playing out over Iran,” said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. “This situation opens up some interesting possibilities as it all shakes out.”
There seems little chance of major diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and the Gulf’s array of ruling monarchs and sheiks. But their shared worries over Iran’s influence and ambitions already has brought back-channel contacts and “intimate relationships” on defense and other strategic interests through forums such as the U.N., said Dan Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the world body.
The stepped-up anxieties on Iran could bring new space for the Gulf-Israel overlap.
Egypt’s military-backed government, which ousted the Iran-friendly Muslim Brotherhood, could be an easy fit into a regional bloc standing against Iran and demanding tougher lines from Washington, which has been roundly criticized by some for abandoning its longstanding allies in favor of trying to settle the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Egypt’s leadership depends on Gulf money as a lifeline and seeks to rebuild its ties with Israel, whose peace treaty with Cairo was considered a historical annoyance by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi and other Gulf states are critical money-and-weapons pipelines to Syrian rebels in a proxy war with Iran, the main Middle East backers of Bashar Assad’s government. Iran’s other loyal force, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, is also in the mix in Syria. On Tuesday, an al-Qaida-linked group claimed it carried out a pair of suicide bombings at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that killed 23 people, including an Iranian diplomat, in an attack that was widely seen as retaliation against Hezbollah and Lebanon’s role in Syria.
Israel may now be able to look more to Saudi assistance and intelligence in efforts to undercut Hezbollah, which has fired rockets into Israel and waged a 2006 war. Saudi Arabia also gave important backing the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 with Israel and could assume an even greater role in future Israel-Palestinian talks.
“A nuclear deal ... is likely to intensify behind-the-scene political cooperation between the Persian Gulf states and Israel, especially when it comes to lobbying in Washington and in Brussels,” said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born political analyst based in Israel.
World Tribune (American daily, November 22, 2013)
Lebanese parliamentary sources said U.S. diplomats have begun contact with Hizbullah politicians in Beirut. They said the dialogue concerned stability in Lebanon as well as the next government.
“The United States is sending and receiving messages to Hizbullah through sympathetic third parties,” a source said. “The dialogue has intensified over the last few weeks.”
The dialogue was reported by members of the pro-Western March 14 coalition, driven out of power in 2011. The members, who did not want to be identified, said the U.S. dialogue with Hizbullah was part of the rapproachment by President Barack Obama with Iran.
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